'Shouldn't be an issue': NZ PM addresses big Bledisloe Cup fears

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured here, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern is confident Australia's Bledisloe Cup concerns have been addressed.
Jacinda Ardern has played down quarantine concerns from the Wallabies. Pic: Getty

The New Zealand government has been forced to act after next month’s Bledisloe Cup Tests were thrown in jeopardy because of the country’s quarantine rules.

New Zealand has confirmed it will relax its strict rules to ensure the Wallabies can prepare properly for the Bledisloe Cup Tests across the Tasman in October.

New Zealand was set to host two trans-Tasman Tests after losing the hosting rights for the Rugby Championship to Australia due to restrictive quarantine protocols.

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But Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said the current strict quarantine conditions were unacceptable for his team to prepare properly before the opening Test on October 10.

Rennie even made the unthinkable assertion that his side “won’t be playing” a Bledisloe Cup Test in New Zealand under the restrictions.

"Under those quarantine arrangements I can assure you we won't be playing a Test in New Zealand that weekend.

"We'd have some young guys introducing themselves to some of our other Wallabies two weeks into our camp ... we won't be playing a Test under those sort of conditions."

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had spoken with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and told him her country's strict biosecurity regulations could be eased to ensure a level playing field.

After consulting Directer-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, the NZ Government offered to allow the Wallabies to train in small groups from the third day and as a full group from the sixth day of their two-week quarantine period.

Current rules meant they couldn't train as a squad until October 5.

Ardern told Newstalk ZB she had spoken to the Australian Prime Minister on Monday night.

"I just wanted to make sure that he was aware ... I was made aware last night that there were a few little rumblings around the arrangements that we had in place," Ardern said.

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“Always better to get ahead of these things before they escalate. Given we had a bit of a deal — we go there, they come here, we both benefit. I thought he might want to know there were a few discussions as to whether the Aussies were still going to come.

"Quarantine shouldn't be an issue. We just want to make sure that, you know, we go there and they go here and it is a fair arrangement."

Ardern is now confident the Wallabies will agree to the new conditions and the Tests would go ahead, with the dates and locations still to be confirmed.

Seen here, Dave Rennie said NZ restrictions were unacceptable for his Wallabies side.
Dave Rennie was concerned about how NZ's quarantine rules would affect his Wallabies side. Pic: Getty

"I believe so,” Ardern said.

"There is no reason for them not to. Given the risk profile for Australians, it is very different to some of the teams we were talking about as part of the Sanzaar tournament."

NZ Minister of Sport Grant Robertson said the Wallabies were set to be based in Christchurch for their pre-Bledisloe Cup quarantine.

"Most likely location will be in Christchurch," Robertson told TVNZ.

"It will be in a dedicated isolation facility, and they will be able to bus to and from their training grounds."

with Yahoo Sport staff